Women’s tennis may not have the following of the men’s game
but there’s a small select group of ladies who have turned on the entertainment. Our featured players have not only wielded a racquet like a pro they’ve been central to some seriously big dollar live betting
over the years, especially when they’ve gone head to head with the best of the rest.
Here are three female players who have turned heads, filled stadia and generated the big money at the bookies. They are the crème de la crème of the courts who have given us nail biting contests that have sometimes ended in tears!
Powerful, aggressive but always graceful on court Steffi Graf is regarded by influential pundits in the game as the greatest female tennis player of all time. Over her long and illustrious career she accumulated 22 grand slam singles titles on all four court surfaces but it was the grass of Wimbledon
she favoured the most.
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Graf’s versatility, tenacity and sheer brilliance on court catapulted her to superstardom, a status she embraced with humility. Her overt femininity belied an inner strength that saw her win some of the most closely contested matches of her era… and had legions of fans baying for her on-court supremacy.
Although she hung up her racquet almost 20 years ago Graf still holds a flurry of memorable records and remains one of the most popular players of the current era.
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In every conceivable way Martina Hingis is the antithesis of her arch-rival Steffi Graf. As a precociously talented tennis player she could stand toe to toe with the best but it was her off court demeanour that really created a buzz… and a firm and fanatical fan base that stretched as far afield as Nigeria!
To many of us Hingis was the poster girl of youthful conceit. She was often rude to her opponents - even celebrities like Steffi whom she only beat on two occasions - and stroppy with the umpires but it was exactly this ‘rebel with a cause’ vibe that got the spectators rising from their seats and the bookies rubbing their hands in glee.
Although her career was cruelly curtailed by a number of injuries Hingis was the darling of tennis. She was the youngest ever player to win a grand slam title and reach the number one spot on the world tennis rankings. Although her stats are comparatively meagre, the Swiss Miss has made an indelible mark on the history of the game.
Pretty, petite but with enough power to blow opponents clean off the court, Justine Henin was a dominant force in the game in the late 1990s, early 2000s. As with Steffi Graf, the athletic Belgian brought incomparable flair and femininity to the courts, attributes that sent TV ratings soaring and spectators roaring.
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Her versatile game was a combination of relentless offensive play and creative court craft which, coupled with her inimitable mental strength, made her one of the toughest opponents on the women’s circuit.
Over her dazzling though foreshortened career she claimed the scalps of luminaries past and present. Jennifer Capriati, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters all fell for the wit and guile of the diminutive player from Liege.
Henin claimed seven grand slam titles, four of which were on the hallowed red clay of Roland Garros. She also claimed Olympic Gold. Was she not forced to retire because of a recurring elbow injury, the odds are she would have added several more titles to her collection.
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